Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
O God, who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
I always find this to be an interesting prayer. The sense of adoption, the light and the dark, the error and the truth give us much to think about.
This prayer is reminiscent of 1 John 1:5-7, that teaches us that God is light and in him there is no darkness AT ALL (emphasis mine). If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with him. However, if we say we fellowship with God and still walk in darkness, we lie, and his truth is not in us.
The word light has many definitions. It can mean not heavy, it can mean not dark. In this scripture passage, to be a child of light means that we have God’s illumination, his glory, in us.
There are two things that struck me most about this prayer. The first is the opposites of the darkness of error and the bright light of truth.
Truth is 100% truth. It’s not a sliding scale, it’s not like adjusting your lamp to 50% brightness. If someone says that something is 95% true, it’s not true. Truth is always 100% true.
The darkness of error is the opposite of the bright light of truth. Someone who refuses the truth, or makes up their own truth, is wrapped in the darkness of error.
Instead of living in darkness, God has chosen us to be children of light. In the Psalms, David often refers to light as truth. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that He is the light of the world. Whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12). He tells us in John 14:6 that he is the truth. When we live in fellowship with him, we, too, live in light and truth.
The second thing in this prayer that caught my eye was the verbs wrapped up and to stand. To be wrapped up means to be enveloped or surrounded. I thought back to those winter days here in northwest Iowa, day after day with no sunshine. The darkness of winter can bring such a heaviness to life. I don’t know if I could weather winter in Alaska. Darkness can weigh you down. In can give a feeling of sinking or hopelessness. It also takes away your sense of direction.
On the other hand, the verb to stand, brings a sense of strength and perseverance. Used here, it also means to manifest. The petition of this prayer is that we may always be seen as strong, may we manifest the bright light of truth, God’s truth. We are able to see the way clearly when we stand in the light of God - as it leads to him.
It is not hard to notice those people who are feeling some guilt and flee from the light. Don’t dwell on them, for the God who sees all things will take care of them. I have also seen another side. When our boys were young, we toured a cave. We didn’t realize how dark darkness can be until we got deep into the cave and the flashlights were off. Who would have ever guessed how grateful we were for our sons’ light-up shoes, and everyone’s eyes were drawn to the light.
There are people who want to hide in darkness, however there are even more people looking for light. Be a light. Take confidence in knowing that if you are surrounded by darkness, God will send his light to you.
Thanks for praying with me,